witches of the forest and the night - they change into wolves during the day and roam the green forest of trees searching for fellow caged creatures. The set free winged and wise owls under the moon, that illuminates their pearl feathers.
witches of the winter and stars - foggy winter evenings become hues of blue filled with starry nights for the witches. they live in old victorian schools surrounded by trees made dead by the harsh cold season. they wear bewitched moonstones around their necks that turn them into deers enchanting the frozen forest…
witches of the sea and precious gems - these witches live and breathe the sacred salty air of the shore. they use precious gems to channel their inner soul to undulate crashing waves into the grey sea. they dance and drown beneath the crystal watery surface like silver sea-sirens.
witches of burning fire and flames - golden wreathed witches filled with the radiance of bright fire and flames. they use blazing candles to illuminate the darkness in their cathedral of trees. their familiars are foxes as red as the sun and as sly as smoke from their fires.
There was a chill on the air, but that wasn’t unusual. Since the red moonfall, there had always been a chill that blew in from Coerthas, that threatened to slip winter into the summery hues of Dravania’s rugged terrain. Even still, it wasn’t as if she could feel it. Not in the usual sense, anyway. Most feeling, real feeling, had been lost years ago, even before she’d suffered the brief loss of her head. A flickering, brief glimmer of a smile passes pale, frosty lips as she strides carefully through thick trees, a score of men following behind her, nine prisoners bound and gagged between them.
Without a word she stops abruptly, hands finding their way to the curves of her hips and propping themselves up there. No spoken order is required for the men to set to work, and she lets them go about their business without interference, watching on in silence. They completed every rote as if committed to perfect memory, flawless movements and whispers that stir the wind around her where she stands, knife held to her wrist patiently, waiting for the moment she must draw it across her flesh. As far as she can remember since that day, this was probably the least pleasant thing she must endure. Not the bloodletting, nor the faint twinge of guilt at watching the passive faces of her victims pass quietly into oblivious stares. It wasn’t the pain that wracked her prison of blood and bone, nor how stretched and pulled she felt as her core dwelled in the ancient prison, nor even the long time she must stand there waiting, hour after hour, day after day, as each piece of the grand sigil is slowly placed.
No, what she hated the most was the black that would claim her each time, as her inky blood flowed into the obsidian plate and she found herself among the flowered field of memories. Tonight is no different, and with grim determination, she stares at the knife.
“Og þannig mun hliðið rísa upp, uns haustið er blindað,” she hears murmured behind her, and clenching her jaw, she drags the knife down.
It was funny, she thought, every time this happened, the first thing she noticed was the taste of snow under her tongue. Bright, cold, a little like winter morning sunlight through the frosted branches of a tree, dappling the courtyard. Perhaps it was that she knelt there in the snow, knees pressing down to the stone for the weight her armor. Perhaps it was that she knew what was to come.
The next thing she noticed were the eyes. The stares. Thousands of pairs of eyes, all beholding her there, kneeling in the snow before a girl. Her hands were bound behind her back, her long platinum braid dangling over her left shoulder. Amber eyes met the gazes that stared down at her, and as she locked with those gazes, she counted almost half of them that flinched.
She couldn’t help but smile.
“Ana Danatmira, af Rós-og-Ösku. Þú ert ákærður fyrir ofbeldi, fjöldamorð, slæður eigin ættar og stríðsglæpi í hæsta röð. Verður þú að keppa við sekt þína?” a voice said, high and clear as a tolling bell, pulling her attention away from the crowd. Amber eyes met silver, and the girl that read her charges stared back without so much as a twitch. A little flicker of pride managed to worm itself into her breast, just then.
You stand accused of tyranny, mass murder, the slaying of your own kin, and war crimes of the highest order. Will you contest your guilt?
When her eyes snap open once more, the rotes are complete, and she finds her quarry clutched in bloodied fingers. The amber gaze observes it, the crystallized darkness she holds before her eyes, and she finds herself smiling again. “That makes nineteen,” she says to the man beside her, splattered in gore and generally disheveled. He peers up at her with dull gray eyes, skin puckered and drawn in some places where the water had begun to erode him before she had plucked him from the strings of fate.
“Yes, my queen,” he murmurs in reply. “Fourteen remain. The third fleet will make landfall within a fortnight.”
The woman smiles, still unsettling, that grin that could chill a fire sprite to its core. “A fortnight? Why, I’m sure we could do better than that, mm? See that they land within three days. What of the first and fourth?”
“The Hoarfrost will make port by Fire’s day, my queen. The first fleet will anchor several malms up the coast. The fog should follow. The fourth has already landed, they will have the four pieces placed by this moon’s end.”
She pats his cheek gingerly, idly smoothing out the brocade fabric of her bodice. “I do love hearing of progress,” she replies at length, a rich chuckle in her throat. “Thank you, dear. And Captain?” He stops abruptly as he had begun to depart, rigid as the frost on her tone. “Do remember what happened to your predecessor, mm? Continue to bring me results.”
Happy 101st birthday, Douglas Slocombe (b. 10th Feb 1913)
Douglas is responsible for one of the greatest in-camera effects ever produced on film: six D'Ascoynes in one shot of Kind Hearts and Coronets, and he is rightly celebrated for it as even now - 65 years later - it’s seamless and perfect, and also unshowy. His work with Ealing gave him plenty of opportunity for creative cinematography effects - making the White Suit very very white; showing what Joe is reading in the Trump in Hue and Cry; the dizzying run down the Eiffel Tower steps in The Lavender Hill Mob, to name a few. But he marries this creativity to his experience as a photojournalist and documentary film-maker before the war to lend his Ealing films a realism that was to become a characteristic of the studio.
His work at Ealing also shows his ability with light and shade, his use of shadows and angles to create atmosphere and tension: Michael Redgrave in the train at the beginning of The Captive Heart, Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway waiting for a burglar in the dark in The Lavender Hill Mob. And so this mastery of shadows and angles is perfect for one of the most beautifully shot black-and-white British films, The Servant; where every shadow and every mirror reflection shows the growing twists and warps of the story.
Had he not lost his sight in his later years it’s entirely possible that he would have continued working: he made the transition to colour and technicolor wonderfully, bringing quality and class to films as varied as The Italian Job, (elevating what is an average film into a thing of beauty) The Great Gatsby, and the first three Indiana Jones films. He is brilliant without being obtrusive: a true master of the medium.
Yes.. Well no? I know sometimes I long to hold her, but I know it isn’t my place anymore.. If you had asked me that same question, just months before.. I would have said yes without fail.. but time was never like sand for me, no. It’s always been more like a sledge hammer, or like that moment right after you jump of the diving board, before you take the plunge. My minds still in the air, not able to understand as my body struggles to adjust to the water. I still think about her when it’s 2 am and I can’t sleep because of the thoughts running through my mind… I still remember the times we were together because I haven’t felt as alive since then.. but everyone has to sink or swim eventually and I don’t think I can just float for much longer..
I traced a thousand autumns across your lips, praying that this kiss would feel like love. But my hands love the way the cracks in your voice color winter in hues I long to sleep in. My ribcage loves the suffocation of smiles we close on daylight playing hopscotch with the tremors of decaying breaths. And while the remainder of this overture balances on the edges of clouds we paint to suit our mood, there has never been a shortage of memories to fill these too shallow pockets in order to exchange sunlight for answers. Though that’s not a heartbeat, it’s the footsteps of every ghost I’ve ever loved trying to leave my chest before it collapses, my lungs have enough room for one more toast: farewell